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February 2005 Update
The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust
& The Wilhelm Reich Museum

We thank you for your continual interest and support. For newcomers to our e-mail Update list, none of the names on this list--nor the names of any Museum visitors, conference attendees or bookstore customers--are shared with any other individuals or organizations. If at any time you wish to be removed from this list, please let us know. All previous Updates, dating from March 2004, available online.

You can access them through the Updates option at the top of this page or via the Quick Links along the left side of the page. These Updates provide the best contemporaneous accounts of the Trust's ongoing activities over the past six years.

Reich's Remarks on Cancer
Contact With Space - Large Print
A Night to Remember
The Furnace Fund
Reich and Kinsey
Reich's Library
Bus Tours to Orgonon
New England Tourism Summit
From the Cottage Log Books 


As a follow-up to an item in our January 2005 Update, we'd like to continue to clarify Reich's positions on cancer and his experimental treatment of the disease. (Although the best clarification can be found in The Cancer Biopathy, published in 1948.) In July and August of 1949, Reich held a three-week conference for physicians at Orgonon. The following excerpt is from Reich's comments during a question and answer period:

"Now in cancer research they finally have gotten around to looking in the blood. But they go their way, they look in the isolated serum...Actually, before the blood is affected, you can see it in the emotional symptoms, a resignation, a pallor... You get so that you can smell a cancer patient long before the tumor develops...That's why the clinical picture is so important...Disease sets in suddenly for them, it's an ‘infection' for them. For us, it's a long-term process...Of course there is a process of self-cure in cancer...That's all we do: we don't cure cancer, all we do is help nature...It's good to know just how little we do. It helps develop a modest attitude." 


A customer who bought a xeroxed copy of Contact With Space from the Museum Bookstore suggested we produce large print copies, since there was so much unused "white space" in the margins anyway. We thought it was a great idea. These large print xeroxed copies are now available. And once we deplete our inventory of "regular" print copies, all copies of Contact With Space will be in large print. 


Traditionally in a New England village whenever you found a group of men sitting up late into a winter's night, they were either playing poker or keeping vigil over someone who had died. Sometimes a little of both. But early last year--in January of 2004--when Orgonon's caretaker Pete Henderson, Rudy Davis of the Rangeley Fire Department, and local plumber Steve Rogers and his assistant Jamie were gathered in the Orgone Energy Observatory furnace room late one night, it was more in the nature of a rescue operation.

The temperature had plunged to 30 degrees below zero. One of the valves on the 56 year-old furnace gave way, flooding the system, freezing pipes and walls, and damaging contents in the Observatory, including Reich's desk. And these four gentlemen were all that stood between a possible furnace failure that would have wreaked incalculable damage on this building and its contents.

The Orgone Energy Observatory is a focal part of the Wilhelm Reich Museum, providing a unique source of knowledge about Reich's life and work. It is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places. During the long winter months, the integrity of the building depends on the original steam heating system to maintain a uniform temperature to prevent the freezing of pipes and the formation of condensation and ice on all surfaces.

The furnace room itself is adjacent to what is now the Screening Room where visitors enter from the outside to watch the video Man's Right To Know. The furnace was installed during construction of the Observatory in 1948. And with its gauges, meters, and valves gleaming from its black metal surface, it's like having a vintage steam locomotive in the basement. And sadly, like the fabled locomotive, its time has passed.

No, the furnace didn't fail that night thanks to Pete, Rudy, Steve, and Jamie. And further damage was averted through the extraordinary efforts of Pete who stayed up all night placing space heaters in different parts of the Observatory. As if this weren't enough, Pete also had to periodically drive down the hill to check out the pipes in the two cottages, Tamarack and Bunchberry. Thirty degrees below zero, with the wind chill factor, can produce a cold that's close to sixty below.

While the immediate crisis was overcome, the dangers associated with this antiquated heating system loom ever larger. The valve problem has been solved and a new burner installed, but this is only a temporary measure since the old pipes leading from the furnace are clogged with rust and dirt, and are too fragile to be repaired or replaced. In short, time is running out for this now 57 year-old heating system. 


We are currently seeking funds to install a new heating system in the Orgone Energy Observatory. This installation will consist of:

  • Removal of asbestos-containing materials in the furnace, furnace room, and crawl spaces...$8000
  • New heating system...$21,000
  • Building a new chimney...$4,000

Total: $33,000

We have applied to several Maine foundations for capital grants, but without success thus far. However our fund-raising letter in December to The Friends of the Wilhelm Reich Museum produced an overwhelming response, totaling $10,423. We'd like to thank all of our friends and supporters who contributed so generously.

If you'd like to help out with the Furnace Fund, checks should be payable to The Wilhelm Reich Museum, and mailed to: Box P.O. 687 - Rangeley, Maine 04970

Checks from outside the United States must be micro-encoded. Contributors outside the United States can also wire their donations. To obtain the bank routing number and the Museum's bank account number, please contact Mary Henderson via email at wreich@rangeley.org.

We also accept credit cards via e-mail, FAX, or phone: (207) 864-3443. All contributions are tax deductible to the extent of the law. 


In November 2004, the film Kinsey opened, starring Liam Neeson and Laura Linney. It deservedly received favorable reviews, and spurred a flurry of passing references to Reich in a variety of articles about Kinsey. The film also precipitated countless discussions, speculations and questions concerning Kinsey's opinion of Reich, Reich's opinion of Kinsey, and whether the two men knew each other or had ever had any contact at all.

According to material in the Archives, contact between Reich and Kinsey was limited to a single exchange of correspondence: a letter from Kinsey to Reich, long before the publication of Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, followed by Reich's response on February 4, 1943. Regrettably, the Archives do not contain Kinsey's letter, although he apparently requested a copy of The Function of the Orgasm: The Discovery of the Orgone, Volume 1, and included an article on homosexuality that he had authored. And because Reich tended to respond promptly to his mail, it's likely that Kinsey's letter was written in January 1943, just months after Reich published The Function of the Orgasm.

A decade later, Reich articulated his thoughts about Kinsey in a diary entry dated October 15, 1953, one month after Kinsey published Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. And Reich's extensive handwritten notes in his copy of both this book and the earlier Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) offer critical insights into his assessment of Kinsey's research. (These two books are part of the hundreds of volumes in Reich's library, preserved in his study in the Orgone Energy Observatory.)

Compiling and publishing Reich's marginalia from the many volumes in his library is an ambitious project for the future, and Reich's handwritten notes in Kinsey's books are currently unavailable to the public. His letter to Kinsey, however, can be found on page 176 of American Odyssey, and is printed below; while his diary entry--perhaps his reaction to the newly-published Sexual Behavior in the Human Female-- is included in Reich Speaks of Freud, pages 283-285. An excerpt of this entry also appears below.


"My Dear Dr. Kinsey,

I have transmitted your request to obtain a copy of my book The Discovery of the Orgone – Volume 1 to the Orgone Institute Press, which undoubtedly has forwarded the book to you in the meantime.

I wish to thank you for the reprint of your article on homosexuality. It is my conviction that the question of homosexuality is far from being solved, especially as far as the physiological and biological background is concerned."


"Kinsey and associates did not touch upon genitality in the sense of WR [Wilhelm Reich]. They continued the line of thinking which derived from the German and English sexologists of the end of the nineteenth century. These sexologists dealt with the phallic-pornographic-clitoral genitality of present-day man which has existed for some six to ten thousand years. They mistook and are still mistaking absence of vaginal genitality and the mere presence of circumscribed clitoral genitality as ‘normal' because it is characteristic of the majority of the female population. Accordingly, since clitoral genitality is a neurotic substitute for a blocked vaginal excitation, they confused the acme of the orgasm with the total orgasm which, in the orgonomic sense, includes, in addition to the acme, the ensuing convulsive movements. They thus confuse the present-day structure of genitality with the bio-energetic one, making the primordial life function, the orgasm, dependent upon nerve endings in the vagina. This view leaves no room for a comprehensive theory of genitality. According to the bio-energetic view of clinical orgonomy, the orgasm is identical with the total involuntary convulsion of the organism beginning with the acme (peak) of the orgasm and ending with complete relaxation. The orgasm function in the orgonomic sense reaches far beyond species and genus. It is older than the development of nerves. Its four-beat rhythm [mechanical tension--bio-energetic charge--bio-energetic discharge-- mechanical relaxation] characterizes cell division and the pulsatory movement of a jellyfish or the peristalsis of a worm or an intestine. It is clearly expressed in the protrusion of the pseudopodium of an ameba."



Visitors to the Observatory often comment about the eclectic nature of Reich's library, which comprises hundreds of books, journals, and other publications. The breadth of Reich's interests and reading material is fascinating to contemplate. We have compiled a list of all of these titles--the list itself exceeds a hundred pages--and at the request of many supporters and visitors, this list will be sold in the Museum Bookstore in the near future. 


Because of the furnace situation, we've been unable to open the Observatory for special tours during the winter. Which is unfortunate since special tours for individuals, small groups, and bus tours generate significant income above and beyond our regular visiting hours in July, August, and September. (The Observatory will re-open in July. And a reminder that our 175-acre property is open to the public every day from 9-5, and is especially alluring now for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.)

In the meantime, we've been exploring opportunities to increase bus tours to Orgonon. The Rangeley Lakes Region has always been a destination for bus tour traffic, especially during foliage season in late September and early October. Generally these tours--no matter what the season--focus on the more "mainstream" local attractions, in terms of museums and other points of interest. Consequently we've had to expend considerable effort to promote The Wilhelm Reich Museum as one of the "stops" on bus tours to Rangeley or western Maine.

Today we're stepping up that effort even more, by working cooperatively with local and regional museums and hospitality businesses to design numerous tour options which we will present to local, national, and international tour companies and tourist agencies.

For example, we've already discussed different tour options with the following heritage sites:

  • Rangeley Lakes Region Historical Society (Rangeley)
  • Rangeley Lakes Region Logging Museum (Rangeley)
  • Phillips Narrow Gauge Railroad (Phillips)
  • Weld Historical Society (Weld) – a "living history" museum housed in four historic buildings
  • Dead River Historical Society Museum (Stratton)
  • Stanley Museum (Kingfield) – features exhibits relating to the Stanley Brothers, inventors of the Stanley Steamer; and their sister, photographer Chansonetta Emmons 


To actively promote The Wilhelm Reich Museum as a destination attraction for international vacationers and bus tours, our administrative assistant Mary Henderson will attend the "10th Annual Discover New England (DNE) International Marketplace and Tourism Summit" in April.

According to the DNE announcement, this summit "is an annual conference aimed at educating the New England hospitality industry about international tourism marketing. The conference is held each year in a different New England state." This year it's being held at the Mount Washington Hotel at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, conveniently located just two hours from Rangeley.

The DNE announcement also explains the two primary conference goals: "One, to educate the New England tourism industry on how the international tourism industry operates and how they can be involved; and two, for invited international tour operators to learn more about the New England product and experience the destination first hand."

DNE has invited over 25 international tour operators to attend "to engage in one-on-one business meetings with members of the private sector, so that New England companies can develop meaningful business relationships with international holiday operators. It is a valuable opportunity to do real business and understand more about the marketplace without having to travel overseas."

These invited international tour operators hail from Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Italy. And because Reich's work is generally more popular overseas than here in America, we're hoping to translate that foreign interest into more visits, awareness and support from European tourists. 


Among the many rewards at The Wilhelm Reich Museum is knowing how much our two rental cottages are appreciated by those who stay there. The logbooks at our cottages-- Bunchberry and Tamarack--are filled with comments from families, couples, groups of friends, and solo visitors. And what they have to say can be poignant, humorous, and almost always heartfelt. Here are some favorites from Tamarack:

"I wonder what Tamarack means, if anything?" mused one guest, during an April visit. "It should mean serene, peace, quiet, beauty--all rolled up into one." The next day she wrote, "Today we must go home. I found out that ‘Tamarack' is a type of tree. I sure hope it's a beautiful one."

One September another guest wrote, "Our week at Tamarack went by in a minute. We hiked to Spencer and Long Ponds, had fun in our canoe, took a late afternoon drive to Stratton. The mountains are awesome, the quiet and peacefulness so appreciated. This is the place we keep in our minds. The time spent on the raft listening to the water lap, feeling the sun, and reading is the best. We have dropped out of our chores and schedule for a great vacation. Thank you."

And this from a young visitor: "So far we've seen nine moose this week! I am eight years old, my name is Louis, I am a boy, I have a sister named Jessica, and I have a mom and a dad. We also brought two dogs. One day we went fishing. I caught a smelt, dad caught a little trout, Jessica caught another little trout, and finally I caught another fish. Then one day we went hiking and me and my dad found moose tracks. We didn't find a moose, but at least we found some tadpoles."

A winter visitor had this to say: "We are having the best time here in Rangeley! How lucky to find Tamarack Cottage on the Internet--it has more than met our expectations...so quiet, private, with plenty of good exploring places for kids and dogs. X-country skiing (and equipment if you don't have your own) across the street at the Wilhelm Reich Museum, great downhill for us first-timers at Saddleback. Today we went snowmobiling in a foot of new powder. We hate to go home tomorrow. Especially we'll miss the friendly people of Rangeley."

A visitor in March wrote, "We arrived only a short time ago and found the Tamarack to be exactly what we were looking for. Six beautiful deer greeted us from the back window. Within 15 minutes of us walking in...how perfect! Took a short stroll down to the lake. I can't wait to see it at sunrise."

And we don't think you can beat this one: "Here at Tamarack we spent the first week of our honeymoon (now going to Bar Harbor), and we definitely liked the camp, the peace (no traffic noise at all) and the loons crying at night. What we enjoyed most were several canoe trips on Dodge Pond (there are two goose families), climbing on top of Bald Mountain (gorgeous view from top of the fire tower), exploring Smalls Falls, and getting lost in all these charming little stores in downtown Rangeley (there's even a book store)."


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Copyright © 2004- Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust

Contact : 207.864.3443 | wreich@rangeley.org